8 December 2009

Apoliteic music (comment 1)

I have received many responses to my recent article on apoliteic music. Due to time constraints (unfortunately, time is not cyclic for me!), I could/can not answer all the responses, but I would like to comment on some of them here, in my blog. The first comment is on Kevin's response.

Hello Anton,
I just finished reading your article "Apoliteic Music" and found it quite interesting. Especially the topic of Apoliteic and its relation to Jünger and Evola. Although I'm not convinced many (perhaps only a handful really) understand Ernst Jünger in the neofolk/industrial movement, despite his name dropping.
You are absolutely right. I asked a few artists who participated the Der Waldgänger compilation, and they told me that they had not read Jünger's Der Waldgang. I am sure, however, that some of the bands (or at least some of their members) did read this work: e.g. Von Thronstahl and Lady Morphia, while other artists might have read some other Jünger piece(s). As for genuine understanding of Jünger: well, let us think who is Jünger for an average apoliteic artist. He is a German nationalist, a Warrior, and a writer who glorified Aristocratic Values and criticised the decadence of the modern world. For some artists this short profile is sufficient, and since Jünger is an icon in specific "highbrow" circles, it is "trendy" and "cool" to refer to him. However, in the terms of the musical scene, the apoliteic message does not suffer much from such a sketchiness: only a true gourmet can distinguish between allegedly similar wines, and these people are rare.

I would almost contend that the "non political" answers to right wing allegations you mention with for example Folkstorm have more to do with being not able to provide appropriate answers or using fascist imagery for "shock value" and purely aesthetic purposes.
There are two issues: (1) reaction to the challenges of modernity and (2) employment of fascist imagery for aesthetic purposes. Since the first issue is dealt with in your article (on which I will comment later), I will consider only the second issue now.
Saying that fascist imagery is presented just for "aesthetic purposes" is a common excuse within the apoliteic Neo-Folk/Martial Industrial scene. I would not take it at face value.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s fascist imagery was rather popular among certain British bands and artists: Sex Pistols, Siouxsie Sioux, Throbbing Gristle, Joy Division and some others. It was time of "high Thatcherism" and left-wing cultural rebellion against the bourgeois society. Sex Pistols wore t-shirts with swastikas and at the same time sang "God save the Queen, and her fascist regime". That was what I call the "spit in the face of bourgeois society". The case of apoliteic music is totally different. There is not just imagery but the message articulated through music, lyrics, interviews, band names, album and song titles, cover art, style of dress, live performances. Back in the times of "high Thatcherism" fascist symbols were shocking and often "pointed cultural strikes", but now we have a scene with its own values, icons, and norms. It is important to stress that apoliteic bands and artists are explicitly perceived as (metapolitical) fascists by their numerous fans too: see, for example, such Last.fm groups like Neofolk Against Tolerance, Intolerance, White Europe, Corneliu Codreanu, and Honour, Heritage and European Pride!.

Finally, why should we isolate "aesthetic purposes" from fascism? Were not modernist buildings, massive marches, fims, etc. built, arranged and shot in the interwar period for genuine aesthetic reasons? As Roger Griffin argues,

[Italian and German fascist parties] became the protagonists and animators of a vast programme of cultural production, the most conspicuous of which took the form of ‘spectacular’ or ‘aesthetic’ displays of revolutionary energies (Roger Griffin, A Fascist Century: Essays by Roger Griffin. Ed. by Matthew Feldman (Houndmills and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), p. 192.).
The issue of the "aesthetic" use of fascist imagery surely deserves further discussion. However, the argument that the employment of fascist imagery by specific Neo-Folk/Martial Industrial acts pursues an "aesthetic" aim and therefore has nothing to do with fascism is misleading: both Italian Fascists and German Nazis were committed to the aestheticisation of social life.

15 comments:

  1. Excuse me for disturbing your peace here, but the more I read about your understanding of metapolitics, the less it makes sense.

    In my naive view of the world, a fascist is someone who sympathises with fascist politics. They may retreat into metapolitics, but they do so because they see that this is not the best of times for their political opinions. So they keep the flame burning, waiting for the times to change.

    As far as I understand your use of the term metapolitical fascism, you can be a metapolitical fascist even if you do not hold fascist political opinions.

    Am I right? If I am, your definition in obscuring rather than clarifying. You have invented your own definition of fascism (or rather borrowed it from the extreme left) and the result is that it becomes more rather than less difficult to understand the political basis of Neo-Folk and Martial Industrial music.

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  2. Fascism is definitely not confined to the realm of politics. One can be a metapolitical fascist without being drawn directly to politics. That's what the prefix "meta" partly implies.

    "My" definition of fascism does not come from the extreme left, who consider fascism as a virulent capitalist reaction. Rather, I subscribe to Roger Griffin's definition of fascism seen as

    "a revolutionary species of political modernism originating in the early twentieth century whose mission is to combat the allegedly degenerative forces of contemporary history (decadence) by bringing about an alternative modernity and temporality (a ‘new order’ and a ‘new era’) based on the rebirth, or palingenesis, of the nation."

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  3. Griffin’s definition is in many ways a good one, but it is an inductive summary of traits that characterize actual fascists. What you are doing, on the other hand, is using it as a prism through which to see the world. The result is that you see what you want to see.

    But if we for a moment accept that anyone who conforms to the elements of this list are fascists (something I’m by no means certain Griffin would agree to), you have as far as I can see at least two problems:

    I have read, listened to and in a few cases spoken with some of the leading names of what I consider to be the non-fascist part of the neo-folk scene. They tend not to be too happy with this day and age, but then again, who are?

    They also, on the other hand, tend to be rather more fascinated with decadent culture than the definition allows for. How does, for instance, Douglas P acting in a gay porn movie fit with your definition?

    The other major problem is that none of them are, except in the very general view of nationalism favoured by people like Gellner, much interested in nationalism, palingenetic or not. And their odes to the mystical Europa tend not to be more tangible than the visions presented by the spokesmen of the EU.

    That means that they are not, by your own definition, fascists.

    But the main problem here is one of ethics; or rather of your lack of it. Calling someone a fascist in the cultural climate of today is a serious thing. It is comparable to the labelling of so-called communists in the McCarthyist era. It can land people in serious trouble.

    That means one should be very careful with this kind of labelling. You are not. You have even stated that there is no ethical dimension to this.

    If you call someone a fascist in public – even if you add a fancy prefix that no one understands – people will assume that they are actual fascists, that they favour fascist political solutions. And they may act accordingly.

    If you go around calling people fascists simply because they fit (or rather fit through your analysis of them) to that definition, you put people at serious risk. That is, whether you like it or not, an ethical problem.

    You also write: “"My" definition of fascism does not come from the extreme left, who consider fascism as a virulent capitalist reaction.”

    You misunderstand. That is the Marxist definition of fascism. But I wrote: “You have invented your own definition of fascism (or rather borrowed it from the extreme left)”.

    And the definition of fascism preferred by the extreme left is “anyone we dislike”. Which seems to be more or less your method.

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  4. Defence reaction rhetoric again. It is rather funny, given some of the exalted response from alleged fascists themselves -

    "This article has to do with the inter-personal relationships of White european peoples, and the Musicical imperatives which make up our deeper, psychological make-up. It is the spiritual essence, music, which transfixes us in the present, but which is eons in the making; that primal essence which marks us unique in the world.
    This article is offered with the intention to 'broaden' the views of those of Western stock, in the present, for the edification and in anticipation, of the Future
    ."

    There is ethical dimension. Not to my research, however, but to apoliteic music which refers to the ideology of fascism that is associated with murder and genocide.

    It is easy to avoid being called "a (metapolitical) fascist". One should learn a bit history and reconsider her/his worldview.

    Anyway, the best Neo-Folk artists nowadays, people like Rome, Solanaceae, Ô Paradis, Gaë Bolg or Nový Svět, have nothing to do with fascism whether metapolitical or practical.

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  5. What on Earth makes my comment "defence reaction rhetoric"? I have pointed out what are my view clear weaknesses in your argument. You choose, as is becoming a habit, not to answer those, but seem to prefer an ad hominem attack.

    For your information: I am a secular humanist. I have worked as an editor for magazines published by the Norwegian Humanist Association for ten years. I am by education a folklorist and a historian of religion and politically I am a liberal conservative.

    For years I have written and/or published anti-fascist and anti-racist articles, including articles written by people like Graeme Atkinson. I have nothing to defend myself from in this question, except from bad taste. Something to which I willingly plead guilty.

    There is obviously an ethical dimension to people promoting fascist and racist politics. They should be fought and revealed whenever possible.

    But for those fights and revelations to be credible, we must avoid attacking people who are not fascists by accusing them of fascism. This is where the extreme left have gone wrong, spreading the term to thinly, and thus emptying it of meaning.

    And ethical responsibility runs two ways. If you are to criticize the ethics of others, you have a duty to also be critical of your own. The fact that you don't even seem to realize this, I find rather disturbing.

    We may well disagree on where the line is to be drawn as to what should be labelled fascist and not. But I find it highly problematic that you do not even seem to see that being wrongfully labelled a fascist can be highly damaging to people.

    I do in no way disagree that there are neo-folk artists that should rightfully be called fascists. They should be strongly criticised and revealed for what they are. (Von Thronstahl is a case in point.) But in music, as in life, people are innocent until proven guilty. It strikes me that you are way to willing to make such a statements of guilt.

    Still, I am happy to see that you admit there are neo-folk artists not guilty.

    And rather than quotes proving what we all know: That there are real fascists out there considering neo-folk to be "their" music, I would appreciate an actual answer to the weaknesses in your reasoning I believe to have pointed out.

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  6. >> we must avoid attacking people who are not
    >> fascists by accusing them of fascism

    >> Still, I am happy to see that you admit there
    >> are neo-folk artists not guilty.

    I am not calling everyone a "(metapolitical) fascist". Moreover, if you read my article, you might notice that I prefer to use the term "apoliteic" (which was coined specifically to avoid the overuse of "fascism") with regard to bands and artists. Furthermore, twice did I write that "neither Neo-Folk nor Martial Industrial can be considered 'fascist musical genres'". (See also Note 42.)

    My point is that "metapolitical fascism" finds its manifestation through some of the Neo-Folk/Martial Industrial acts. As far as I understand, you do share this view. When I say that somebody is an apoliteic artist, I do it for a reason. This reason is the apoliteic cultural product, not just casual usage of specific symbols or something like that. For example, I discount Current 93 (and many other bands and artists) with its "Swastikas for Noddy" and everything, because they do not promote the "apoliteic product". Instead, I focus on the bands that do legitimise "(metapolitical) fascism" in the cultural sphere.

    In the West, as far as I know, one cannot be persecuted for her/his views. There is even the American Nazi Party in the US. Besides, I unambiguously state that I am against censoring or banning apoliteic artists. (Although I would support banning White Noise bands.)

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  7. “My point is that "metapolitical fascism" finds its manifestation through some of the Neo-Folk/Martial Industrial acts. As far as I understand, you do share this view.”

    Everyone who has participated in this discussion agree on this. What we’re discussing is how representative of the genre it is.

    That fascists like your article shouldn’t be surprising, as you’re essentially saying what some of them like to say: That neofolk is a genre that’s ideologically compatible with fascism, that the fascist presence is large and influential already etc. This is, in many ways, the crux of the problem, as the real losers are the people who just care about music and don’t want a genre they love to become a political battleground the way the skinhead culture did, to take one example.

    “In the West, as far as I know, one cannot be persecuted for her/his views.”

    If you think that’s the only ethical consideration in this matter, then you’re even more irresponsible than I first thought. Being called a fascist is a bit like being called a paedophile, and there’s not only the state one has to be worried about.

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  8. >> What we’re discussing is how representative
    >> of the genre it is.

    Like I said, "‘metapolitical fascism’ and the two genres, as musical styles, do overlap — to a lesser extent in the case of Neo-Folk — but Neo-Folk/Martial Industrial artists can create non-apoliteic art, while ‘metapolitical fascists’ can find other musical means to communicate their message."

    For example, there are apoliteic bands that play Black Metal, Power Noise, Dark Ambient, or even EBM.

    >> Being called a fascist is a bit like being
    >> called a paedophile

    One should stop referring to the elements of fascist ideology, and in this case he/she will avoid being called a fascist. "By their fruits ye shall know them". It is easy, isn't it? I am sure you know what a person must not do in order to avoid being called a paedophile, right?

    >> the real losers are the people who just care
    >> about music and don’t want a genre they love
    >> to become a political battleground the way
    >> the skinhead culture did

    The problem you have outlined lies within the Neo-Folk/Martial Industrial scene itself, but not within the studies of the scene. This is why I finished the article with the quotation from Eric Roger who said that the scene must not be given up to the right-wingers. The scene should deal with the "trouble-makers" on its own. In these circumstances, my sole task - apart from purely scholarly objectives - is to indicate the problem.

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  9. I have been involved in the scene since the early 'second revival' (a little over 10 years I think). That entire decade there have been these ups and downs in the fascism fuss. Recently the attention of the 'knights of moral' seems to go down, but the attention of more 'serious investigators' up. I agree with Arnfinn, the accusation is given too easily and with that accusation it also goes: once a fascist always a fascist. Especially since the internet, an accusation will have consequences for a person for the rest of his/her life. Besides, with the definition that you use, it looks like even I would fall within the category while I have close to zero interest in politics, especially not the popular right rubbish of today. This leads me to the following question: why do people always want to see politics everywhere? Inspite of the statement in your article "that there exists a particular kind of radical right-wing music that does not promote outright violence, is not related to the activities of political organizations or parties, and is not a means of recruitment to any political tendency" and the term "apoliteia" itself, why trying to prove (meta)political activies and why, when politics are found, are they to be classified as "far" or "extreme"? Also "One should stop referring to the elements of fascist ideology, and in this case he/she will avoid being called a fascist." This is reasoning in circles. I am no fond of the system of democracy, I suppose a fascist is neither, but does that mean that I automatically agree with all other ideas or that I got my idea from that ideology?

    I have a lot of music with a great variety of styles and partly with a variety of messages that could be called political. I do not, however, have any music that does promote outright violence, is related to the activities of political organizations or parties, and is a means of recruitment to any political tendency. I do greatly enjoy the music of our scene's greatest threat in your opinion: Von Thronstahl and this is because I sincerely believe that this band "does not etc.". I don't study their lyrics or background, I don't try to find the samples used, but of course I hear the political message in the first tracks of the last album, but I don't hear them telling me to join a certain party or current. They did not cross my personal border and I think the quote "does not…" etc. applies. I own several of the 'political compilations', but (for example) neither the music, nor the lyrics, nor the cards and books that were added, nor even contact with the person responsible for the release, the Codreanu compilation did do nothing with either my 'political' ideas or my historical interests and how more receptive a person as myself do you think there are in the scene? The border (I think) is that there might be (either or not romantised) references to "(meta)political" ideas or persons, but no POLITICS. Yes I am a naive not-universally-educated person who can't engage in an in-depth discussion about Jünger or Codreanu, simply because I am not interested enough to study them (Evola on the other hand :-) , but I prefer the real Traditionalists), but even when I have ideas different from the grey mass, I am hardly a threat to modern society, neither do I think the bands that you describe are. I think too much is made of a marginal scene and the people involved are less radical than the average man on the streets who votes popular right and who is probably more politically right than the bandmembers you describe. Also don't forget that whatever definition of the term "fascism" you use, people will only see a (band)name with the tag and their own images of the term which often includes things like racism, antisemitism, "Übermenschen", etc. Isn't it enough to acknowledge a difference in worldview without incidentally or accidentally pushing people and groups in a certain corner?

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  10. >> the accusation is given too easily and with
    >> that accusation it also goes: once a fascist
    >> always a fascist. Especially since the
    >> internet, an accusation will have consequences
    >> for a person for the rest of his/her life.

    I definitely do not agree with the thesis "once a fascist, always a fascist". People can reconsider their views and move away from the fascist worldview. Moreover, one of my tasks is to expedite this process.
    I do not accuse anyone of being a fascist, but rather interpret one's views.
    Again, people should bear responsibility for promoting fascist ideas. "Especially snce the Internet", it is a dangerous delusion to assert that a marginal apoliteic artist does not exert any influence upon the society.

    >> This leads me to the following question: why
    >> do people always want to see politics
    >> everywhere?

    This is hardly an issue of "wanting". Politics is not something detached from an average person's life. People are social beings, and everyone - actively or passively - participates in social relations.

    >> I do greatly enjoy the music of our scene's
    >> greatest threat in your opinion: Von
    >> Thronstahl and this is because I sincerely
    >> believe that this band "does not etc."

    Yet Von Thronstahl does not indeed. And this is exactly my point. You may not believe, but some people respond to my article with a question like "Why do you distinguish between White Noise and apoliteic music? All of them are neo-Nazis". Well, I argue that these types of music are indeed different, and to conclude that they are all neo-Nazis is an obvious simplification.

    >> but of course I hear the political message in
    >> the first tracks of the last album, but I
    >> don't hear them telling me to join a certain
    >> party or current.

    So you actually corroborate my theory of apoliteic music here. You understand that there is a political message in Von Thronstahl, but it does not have anything to do with practical politics. There are common and conscientious fans of apoliteic music, the former ignore the political message, while the latter embrace it. And there are really a lot of conscientious fans of "metapolitical fascist" music out there. Just an example: I recently found a web-site Kriegspace (http://kriegspace.ning.com) devoted to "Martial - Industrial - Apocalyptic - Noise". They have a revealing discussion on their forum:

    Are there any non-neo-nazis here?
    The first reply is -
    "not too many. on the other hand, not all neo-nazis want to clone hitler and have a repeat of history. protecting ones' identity is an honourable endeavor. being proud of who you are is not an immorale act. but wtf! this is a music site with political overtones to it. your discussion may be too deep to float alot of discussion!".

    The other person comments -
    "Some of us are presenting their political ideologies through their music here, and there Edek Rose is right by saying "And I do think this is more than 'music' we are here for."".

    >> I think too much is made of a marginal scene
    >> and the people involved are less radical than
    >> the average man on the streets who votes
    >> popular right and who is probably more
    >> politically right than the bandmembers you
    >> describe.

    I assert that music is a powerful tool of communication and promotion of different ideas. In a global world such as ours, no scene can be really marginal anymore.

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  11. In a way I can agree with the notion that everything can be explained in political terms, but with my remark “why do people always want to see politics everywhere” I meant that also in your article the suggestion is raised that the bands you speak about try promote a certain political movement. You speak about “radical right-wing music”, a “clearly right-wing message”, “cultural reflections of the two different political strategies that fascism was forced to follow”. There you tag a whole scene with a term that in the mind of the common man stands for racial hatred, antisemitism and general intolerance.

    Then my remark "once a fascist, always a fascist". I did not refer to the mind of the subject, but to the mind of the rest of the world. One famous example. When he was 16, Michael Moynihan said something about the holocaust. Countless of times he nuanced these remarks, but 24 years later this is still used to smack him around the ears. What me (and others) try to say is: as soon as somebody’s name is connected to ‘the f-word’, this is a stain that is no longer erasable, no matter if the connection was right or wrong.

    “Von Thronstahl does not indeed.”
    So if Von Thronstahl is our most dangerous band, then why do you say:
    “The scene should deal with the "trouble-makers" on its own.”
    What trouble-makers? Von Thronstahl is the worst we’ve got. I’m sure you are aware of the incident in which Belborn was featured on a compilation where they forgot to ask about the other bands? As soon as the compilation fell in their mailbox, they dismantled the band and made a statement about their grave mistake.

    “There are common and conscientious fans of apoliteic music, the former ignore the political message, while the latter embrace it.”
    I deny the “political message”. My reference to Von Thronstahl concerned only the intro of their last album where Troy Southgate says something about “EU slavery” and “shred their contract, break their laws”. This is about the most explicit remark that I know (by heart). But a quote of Evola or Jünger, a reference to secret Europe or retreats into the forest can hardly be explained as political. Where we differ is that you see a “political message” in the most exterior side of the bands, bandnames, album and track titles, artwork, while I don’t see these politics, just the suggestion that these artists have thought about something. If I want, I might see if they say anthing about that on their website or in interviews, but the listener has to LOOK FOR IT rather than hearing lyrics about ZOG or white power. When looking, the larger part of the scene is pretty harmless in my view. Sure, some webzines or fans may have ideas that are not mine (some like to boast about the scene as a whole), but I have the choice not to read their ramblings, right? I also have the choice not to buy a certain album, but I seldom felt I had to.

    first half...

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  12. second half...

    Too often no difference is made between a conservative ideology and “radical right wing” and fascism. You say that you “rather interpret one’s views”. This is a dangerous thing. You investigate a band’s artwork and lyrics and draw conclusions. Based on the symbolism the person who writes the lyrics likes to use, you interprete the whole band’s worldview and place in the political spectrum which apparently only has a far end. This is a hasty conclusion on partial information, but also I oppose against the “radical” part that seems to be there by default. People can be ‘politically right’ (to use that terminology) without being “radical”, even when some ideas can be found within the views of people who are/were “radical”. Besides, when is somebody “radical”? When (s)he promotes outright violence? In that case, we are not talking about “radical right wing”, but just “right wing” at ‘best’.

    “I assert that music is a powerful tool of communication and promotion of different ideas. In a global world such as ours, no scene can be really marginal anymore.”
    I don’t know. Sure, with Myspace, torrents and P2P networks everybody can theoretically know almost anything, but should somebody accidentally download an album of Von Thronstahl (to stick to the example), with only the titles and the sound somebody should have to look for the website where besides some fancy artwork nothing shocking is to be found and then look for that interview in which the men say something that makes them hated so much. How big do you think that chance is? The other way around is more likely. A youthfull skinhead ‘googles’ for “fascist music”, runs into your article, tries to find out what “neofolk” and “martial industrial” is and listens to a few bands only to conclude that they don’tmake Oi. Nah, like I read recently (was it your own article), there is hardly music without people involved with some political ideas and I don’t think that our scene is a negative exception. Isn’t the discussion similar to that of people saying that all gothics are potential suiciders because goths like to sing about death and wear black cloths? And then, the latest polls give our Dutch rightwing populist, who is more radical in some of his ideas than what I see in neofolk booklets (and definately more explicit, not veiled in symbols and references), over a third of the votes (that is 4 million; woe us!); where is the danger of scene of a few thousand people making music around globe?

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  13. First part

    >> There you tag a whole scene with a term that
    >> in the mind of the common man stands for
    >> racial hatred, antisemitism and general
    >> intolerance.

    Radical right-wing music is a generic term that includes both White Power and apoliteic types of music. Right-wing radicalism cannot be reduced to racial hatred or antisemitism, of course. As for "the common man", I am not sure that scholars should be guided by the reasoning powers of "the common man". There would have been no science, if that had been the case, right?

    >> When he was 16, Michael Moynihan said
    >> something about the holocaust. Countless of
    >> times he nuanced these remarks, but 24 years
    >> later this is still used to smack him around
    >> the ears.

    Never heard of that story, honestly. But I can understand why people call Moynihan a fascist now -

    Photo 1
    Photo 2

    I presume that Moynihan is not sixteen on those photos.

    >> as soon as somebody’s name is connected to
    >> ‘the f-word’, this is a stain that is no
    >> longer erasable, no matter if the connection
    >> was right or wrong.

    Can you name a person who was a fascist once and then reconsidered his worldview, so he/she is not a fascist now?
    At the moment one name pops to my mind, Emil Cioran. He, however, did his very best to distance from fascism and no-one dared to call him a fascist after WW2.

    >> So if Von Thronstahl is our most dangerous
    >> band, then why do you say:
    >> “The scene should deal with the "trouble-
    >> makers" on its own.”
    >> What trouble-makers?

    Apoliteic artists, they are. If the Neo-Folk scene is not interested in being associated with "metapolitical fascism", then it should take measures. I don't know, however, which measures.

    >> Von Thronstahl is the worst we’ve got.

    I am not sure about this. I think there are more extreme examples, mostly Martial Industrial acts.

    >> As soon as the compilation fell in their
    >> mailbox, they dismantled the band and made a
    >> statement about their grave mistake.

    Ah, come on. Everyone within the scene knows that Belborn had problems with the antifascist watchdogs before.
    Moreover, the compilation you are talking about was titled "Prezent! Compilatie de muzica nationalista". Had not Belborn known the name of the compilation before they agreed to give their track for compilation? I doubt this. And they did not disband after the compilation had been released: they continued to make music and give their tracks to other compilations.
    But they are dead now, indeed. Unlike other apoliteic bands like Von Thronstahl/The Days Of The Trumpet Call or Sagittarius, who thought it was OK to be featured on the same CD together with clearly White Power bands.

    >> But a quote of Evola or Jünger, a reference
    >> to secret Europe or retreats into the forest
    >> can hardly be explained as political.

    Because it is not political in the sense of practical politics (like "political politics" or something). It is not apolitical either, it is apoliteic, this is something different from both political and apolitical.

    >> Where we differ is that you see a “political
    >> message” in the most exterior side of the
    >> bands

    I consider the lyrics and the music itself too. This would not be "exterior side", would it?

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  14. Second part

    >> When looking, the larger part of the scene is
    >> pretty harmless in my view.

    It is debatable, but anyway I do not equate Neo-Folk or Martial Industrial to "metapolitical fascism".

    >> Too often no difference is made between a
    >> conservative ideology and “radical right
    >> wing” and fascism.

    I do distinguish between conservatism and right-wing radicalism, to which fascism is subsumed.

    >> Based on the symbolism the person who writes
    >> the lyrics likes to use, you interprete the
    >> whole band’s worldview

    There is no other choice, because symbolism, lyrics, etc. are produced under a name of a band. Thus people bear responsibility for what they do as a band. I know at least two persons (I don't give names, sorry) who honestly regret their involvement in Sol Invictus. I deeply respect their position.

    >> and place in the political spectrum which
    >> apparently only has a far end.

    I just don't write about other political positions.

    >> Besides, when is somebody “radical”? When
    >> (s)he promotes outright violence? In that
    >> case, we are not talking about “radical
    >> right wing”, but just “right wing” at ‘best’.

    I would argue that "right-wing radicalism" is a generic term that means prejudice against "an Other", but then this term subsumes other terms which tell what should be done with "an Other" (and "Us"). If people promote outright violence against "an Other", they are extreme right-wing.
    Just "right-wing" is for conservatism.

    >> Nah, like I read recently (was it your own
    >> article), there is hardly music without
    >> people involved with some political ideas
    >> and I don’t think that our scene is a
    >> negative exception.

    Yes, it was a quote from a paper by the German Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young People. I agree with you completely: I do not equate musical scenes to fascism, be it "metapolitical" or "normal". Like I said, you can find an apoliteic message in Black Metal, Power Noise, Dark Ambient or EBM too.

    >> where is the danger of scene of a few
    >> thousand people making music around globe?

    You definitely misunderstand me. I do not write of a danger. There is only one passage in my article which can be erroneously in this way -

    The question, however, remains as to whether apoliteic bands can function as instruments for popularizing and promoting genuine fascist ideas, the adoption of which can eventually lead their listeners to contribute to the political cause, even if such bands—perhaps honestly—do not mean to. The answer, beyond any doubt, is ‘yes’. Music is a powerful instrument of (mis)education: the idealization of fascism, while over-emphasizing its ‘values’ and deliberately concealing (and even normalizing) its crimes and genocidal practices throughout the interwar period and the Second World War, effectively contributes to a misreading of modern history, especially by conscientious fans. We can only conjecture as to whether an individual will be satisfied with just ‘drifting in dreams of other lives and greater times’ or will eventually become involved in attempts at the practical implementation of those ‘dreams’.

    Do you disagree with any of the ideas expressed here?

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  15. Sorry to say, Anton, but that last message was spam, trying to direct traffic to kazaa ;-)

    But at least the bots like your article ;-)

    ReplyDelete